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Grant Warwick: ENGiNEERED
Posted: Feb 28, 2010
Published by: the area
Homepage: Visit the page
Software: Autodesk 3ds Max
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The Area:
Hey Grant - welcome to the AREA. Some of us may be familiar with your calibre of work already, having watched your 'Inorganic Modeling Fundamentals' series. You've shown some great techniques and one can clearly see your passion for modelling -- can you tell us how long you've been doing CG?
I've been doing CG for about 6 and a half years and started when I was 15, during a school work experience week.
The Area:
How did you come to learning and using 3D - have you always been interested in working with visual art?
I didn't really know anything on a technical level about 3D before starting the school work experience. However, I always had a love for films and art in general even though I hadn't done a lot of it myself.

During my 2 weeks of work experience at the Jumbana Group (a Graphics design company in Sydney, Australia who designed and painted the Aboriginal Boeing 747's), I was introduced to the owner's son -- Tim Moriarty who had his own 3D company and he was very inspirational for me and was really the first person to get me addicted to 3D and start me on the track to craziness :)
The Area:
At your work experience with the Jumbana Group, what were you doing initially and what was it like using your first 3D application ;-)? Do you remember what version it was?
I was using Photoshop and doing some logo design/retouch work. However, after a couple of days I started to go around to meetings with Tim and get involved with doing some basic 3ds Max tutorials. It was Version 5 at the time and even though seeing a software with a million different buttons was intimidating, I pretty much knew I had found my calling and have done 3D every day since.
The Area:
What did you do after your time at the Jumbana Group?
I pretty much stopped caring about anything but 3D and taught myself how to do subdivision modeling. I had a goal to be hired in the Industry as a modeler before I left school so for the next 2 years I was doing it for at least 8 hours during the night. My sleep is still haywire because of this. Thankfully enough, I got my break a few weeks before school was out and got an interview with Fuel International who hired me. And even though my work was crap, but simply because I showed them there was not a person on the planet who wanted it more :)
The Area:
Training yourself for those two years and then going into a production environment, what was it like adjusting to the pipeline at Fuel? What were the highs and lows of going from 'theory' to 'reality'?
I was prepared to do anything really. There wasn't actually much modeling for me to do when I started so I was just going around asking questions and getting familiar with it and doing my best to make friends. I tried to be a likeable person and not sit in the corner being silent like so many Uni students on work experience I saw coming through over those next couple of years.

The hardest part adjusting was going from 3ds Max to Maya, I was really stubborn about it not because I didn't like the program but because I had done numerous tests to see how fast I could model something in both apps and Max always came out on top.
Unfortunately they never licensed it so I used Maya my entire time at Fuel. Obviously now though Maya has a much more versatile modeling toolset and It would not be a problem for me to switch over.

Looking back, I was flying the entire time at Fuel, I was literally living my dream. It was ridiculous for me and I couldn't believe how happy I was, however I was very immature at the time and maybe not in comparison to other people my age but I was working in an environment where I was the youngest by years and some of these guys had been working in the Industry since it began.

I think the owners expected this to an extent and weren't so hard on me.
The HARDEST part about moving to a production environment is when you get asked how long something is going to take you and you have never done it before. Modeling is the first in the pipeline after a job is given the greenlight. You are torn between trying to be realistic, impress people and understand what they expect.
The Area:
What is it about 3ds Max that makes you prefer to use it over any other app overall?
It just had such a streamlined feel to modeling. It's so fast and the techniques came to me naturally. I've tried every other modeling ap and they all require so much tweaking to get right. Max has everything out of the box. I set my hotkeys after a fresh install
and that's it. No more refinements.
The Area:
What are some of the films and television commercials (tvc) you've worked on?
I've only worked a few films including the Painted Veil, Rogue and the Condemned. However, I've worked on loads of TVC's. I was a modeling supervisor on the BMW Hydrogen Ad, and modeled the Nissan Dualis Robot.
The Area:
What did you do after leaving Fuel - and why?
I started freelancing part time, I had literally worked myself to exhaustion and it was starting to effect my work.
The Area:
You worked primarily as Modeler for several years -- do you enjoy other aspects of 3D (i.e.. scripting, dynamics, animation, etc.)?
I've never done animation and scripting in Mel, even though pretty cool felt a little daunting for me and wasn't going to fill my creative needs. However, I love texturing and lighting and have been learning these areas for the last few years.
The Area:
Do you remember the first 3D scene you made?
Haha of COURSE, the 3ds Max Comet tutorial. What else?
The Area:
The majority of work in your current portfolio shows some impressive character work, super high details and accurate proportions - can you tell us about some of them? For example - Ironman, Hadron, Mauro...
All the pieces you mentioned are personal works I have done in my spare time.
I loved Ironman Comics and trading cards as a child, so naturally I wanted to make him in 3D and I'm glad I did -- it got Marvel's attention. He took about 6 days of modeling and then a day to render him.

Hadron was the first character I designed and was for the Digital Apprentice Modeling Competition which Autodesk took part insponsoring. That took about a month in my spare time and I nearly died trying to finish it in time, although it was worth
it as I won first place and saved me about 10k in software expenses. The streets wait for me another day I guess :)


Mauro was another model that almost killed me and was for the Dominance War IV although I got sick mid way and could never finish in time. :(


My workflow is consistent with the mainstream although I have drastically sped up how I model with personal tests and trial and error. I hate to waste time modeling and taught myself a few methods for slicing loads of time off a production which I have
gone into in a free tutorial series I am about to release.

The Area:
Let's talk about Smoke - obviously someone likes Mortal Kombat ;-) But this is no ordinary fan art - a look at the level of detail on the armour, the textures..not to mention the rendering..if I hadn't known, I'd swear this was from a proper MK movie. How long did you spend working on him and what was the biggest pain in making him come to life?
HAha It's funny you say that. Warner Bros are supposedly making a new Reboot, I'd love to do some freelancing for it that's for sure. But I know the chances of that happening are close to 0% :P.

I tried to make it clear I was a huge fan, this was a nostalgia piece for sure although talking about actual pound for pound hours it was a fraction of what I spent on Hadron or Mauro.

I had so little time to work on him, maybe a couple days' solid work and then a couple of weeks doing bits and pieces at night.

Biggest pain was making everything as detailed as the sword. After rendering that, everything else looked crap so I reworked a lot of the textures.
The modeling is really simple for this piece though, I smashed it out really quickly.

The Area:
What is your arsenal of choice?
3ds Max with VRay
The Area:
Are there any improvements to tools in 3ds Max that you would like to see changed, or features you wish for?
I'd love to see a more node-based workflow introduced for shading and scene organization. Similar to Maya, but integrated in nicely with the current Menu Sets.
Also a more freeform UI with the ability to dock more items like the Material Editor.
The Area:
Are there any artists that inspire you (cg/non-cg)?
So many.
You got the world's best modelers like Fausto de Martini, Alessandro Baldasseroni, Rene Garcia and Vitaly Bulgarov.
Then there is the sculptor guys like Alex Oliver, Joseph Harford and Rafael Grassetti.
Too many to list, but you get the gist.
The Area:
Having been outside of the US for some time, would you ever consider moving back to work in studios like ILM, DD, Tippett, etc. Or perhaps stay in NZ and work at WETA -- any aspirations to work for big studios?
Working for myself and starting up my own place with Dennis Monk as ENGiNEERED has definitely been the most excited I've been so far. Now rather than just focusing on modeling, I've been able to grow as a more complete artist going through each step and creating my own workflow from model to render, then retouching.
Soon we will be growing even bigger but can't go into it yet :)
The Area:
What do your Dad and brothers think about your change of career plan now?
Well I come from a sporting family, my Dad was a famous tennis player so this was always inspirational for me and my brothers growing up. I think we all wanted to be like him, although I was probably a bit too competitive to ever deal with this type of profession. I've always wanted to be the best at things I've tried but I knew with 3D I had found what I wanted to do and I've always been supported in doing so, even though during that 2 year school period, my parents didn't realize the Industry only requires a good folio and not a good certificate so there were some quarrels for sure :)
The Area:
Given your young age and success in the Industry, what advice do you have for those who wish to follow the same dream as yours?
It can all be summed up in one word - Grinding!

But I suppose if you want a longer answer, I'd say you have to be pretty harsh on yourself if you want to succeed, even if it depresses you for a while to an extent.
You DON'T need to be at a school either. Everything is available to you online, this is not the medical industry.

I wish others would release more free information and I do my best to provide my own but there is enough out there.
The Area:
Ok – what's the deal with the cute piggy and gasoline refill ;-)?
Haaa this was shot by Fraser Clements, I did the CG and Retouching and was part of a pitch for BNZ. It was a fun one :)
The Area:
Well Grant - thanks for the ride! It's always very inspiring to hear stories on people who didn't plan to get into CG, but discovered it and never turned back. Your strong passion to excel and be the best is an inspiration to us all.

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Newest users comments View All 22 Comments
Posted by HAPPY01 on Oct 04, 2012 at 01:50 AM
nice work brother
i saw first time this page and i like you work of modeling
Posted by MohdAltamimi on Aug 24, 2011 at 06:06 PM
great work man, I like your work, and I like your tutorial on Hard Surface Modeling on 3Dtotal.com, I really appreciate your efforts and encouragments, I wish you the best,
Posted by VoidTheVision on Feb 08, 2011 at 08:19 PM
You really are an inspiration, and I'm from the Philippines, a country that is just developing 3D! I hope I can attain your level of detail on your 3D models. Awesome work on your Smoke model! I'm a MK fan as well. :D
Posted by Elchin3d on Jan 24, 2011 at 05:56 AM
yes, his works really inspired me too. Thanks
Posted by nadzsamson on Dec 26, 2010 at 09:08 PM
Love you works man,inspiring,Yeah you are right when you say you have to be harsh on yourself to be better.:P